Town and project officials are ready to begin construction of the Storrs Center project with a ground- breaking ceremony now officially scheduled for the end of the month.
The ceremony – which will be open to the public – will take place Wednesday, June 29, at 5 p.m. at the intersection of Dog Lane and Route 195, with parking available at E.O. Smith High School.
Anyone looking to attend is asked to first respond to the Mansfield Downtown Partnership Inc. at (860) 429-2740 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Numerous town, state, project and University of Connecticut officials will be on hand for the ceremony, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Mayor Elizabeth “Betsy” Paterson, UConn President Susan Herbst, state Rep. Gregory Haddad, D-Mansfield, and executives with the two developers.
Downtown Partnership Director Cynthia van Zelm said project officials are “extremely excited” to break ground and begin the first round of construction for the $220 million mixed-use project.
“It’s been a long time planning and we’re really glad to be at this point,” van Zelm said.
The town formed the Downtown Partnership in 2001 for the project and designated it as the town’s municipal development agency in 2002.
The town and Downtown Partnership spent the next two years working on conceptual plans for the project before hiring Leyland Alliance LLC as the master developer in 2004.
The Downtown Partnership and Leyland Alliance have since been working on plans, applying for grants and receiving the necessary permits for the first round of construction for the project.
Mansfield Deputy Mayor Antonia Moran, who is also on the Downtown Partnership’s board of directors, said the project has had an “amazingly dense layer” of complicated decisions, noting UConn has also been involved.
“I can’t tell you how exciting this is,” Moran said, adding the decisions associated with the project have been “rolling” into other milestones.
Just in the last year, Leyland Alliance hired Education Realty Trust, or EDR, to construct and manage the rental units in the first round of construction.
The decision allowed the town council and the two developers to finalize a development agreement in January, while the two developers have also been able to complete designs for construction.
Phases 1A and 1B, which began receiving zoning permits in February, will include roughly 290 rental apartments and 69,000 square feet of retail space.
Select Physical Therapy, Vanilla Bean Café, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Storrs Automotive, Wings Over Storrs, Travelplanners, Campus Cuts, Body Language, Tailoring by Tima, Cosimo’s Italian Restaurant and Insomnia Cookies have all submitted letters of intent to located in the new center.
The Downtown Partnership, meanwhile, received a federal grant for an intermodal hub last August, allowing the town to move forward with designs on the hub and attached parking garage, also funded with a grant.
Mansfield Planning and Development Director Linda Painter is currently reviewing the town’s application for the two structures to ensure they meet special design guidelines for Storrs Center.
The town is also working with consultants on designs for the Village Street and town square, with plans to file for zoning applications in the near future.
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